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  1. #1
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    St George questions

    The snowpack has finally stabilized in the Wasatch but my knee not so much. I've been cleared to go out and behave myself, something I'm completely incapable of doing on skis. Instead of getting rad and blowing every ligament left in the knee I think it would be smarter for me to go build some leg meat on the bikes. I haven't wheels in St George since 2005, a time where 26" hardtails ruled the world and Gooseberry Mesa wasn't really a thing. I searched around the forum and didn't find much beta on the new reality of biking in SW UT, other than the fact that it's crowded as fuck.... So I figured I'd start a thread to confirm that.

    Anyone care to share a list of must-do rides? I think the number of trails is 20x larger than when I last visited so it's safe to assume I haven't ridden anything. I'm not as fit as I'd like to be right now (have done nothing but PT since mid January) but can probably handles 20ish miles a day for 3 days in a row (at least I'd like to believe I can). I'm trying to stay away from anything ultra-tech, I can spin fine but I'm not interested in finding out how well I can handle an emergency dismount into a steep chute. Gooseberry-style riding might be at the limit of what I want to deal with (although I used to love the place and it should be more manageable on a real bike). Seems like St George proper (Green Valley / Santa Clara) has mellower options that the Hurricane area and is worth a visit?

    Is there still free camping in the area for someone rolling in mid-day on a Friday? 15 years ago we'd just plop down on the side of the road on the mesa and call it good but I imagine every site that exists up there is permanently occupied? I'd prefer to set up camp somewhere quiet (if that's even a thing) and drive to the TH even if it's 20+ minute away. Never been a fan of camping in the parking lot, I like sitting around and looking at clouds and the chatter of bros nearby detracts from the experience.

    If anyone's down there this weekend and interested in linking up I'll be rolling solo, happy to get sandbagged and drink some beers. Also opened to any suggestion that isn't St George, I really have no plan other than getting TFO of SLC...
    "Your wife being mad is temporary, but pow turns do not get unmade" - mallwalker the wise

  2. #2
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    For rehabbing a knee I'd probably stick to JEM area and the mellower Santa Clara stuff like Barrel Roll. Gooseberry seems like a bad idea since there's so many super punchy short ups. Maybe Guacamole, which has a similar flavor but is a lot mellower.

    There's a shit ton of trail in down there, but I think most of it is pretty boring. Most of the time I'd prefer just to spin laps on Barrel (Santa Clara network, different than Barrel Roll, unsanctioned/unsigned but on Trailforks). Even if you ride around all the jumps Barrel is shit ton of fun. Zen is cool, though probably not best for a bum knee. Grafton DH is rad and easy to loop. Turtle Wall-Paradise Rim loop is a sweet quick hit. The only real knock against it is that it's really short (2 miles total), but you can always lap it. That would probably be a good one to ride with your knee since you're not committed to something long.

    Broken Mesa looks tempting on the map but it sucks balls, trust me.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    For rehabbing a knee I'd probably stick to JEM area and the mellower Santa Clara stuff like Barrel Roll. Gooseberry seems like a bad idea since there's so many super punchy short ups. Maybe Guacamole, which has a similar flavor but is a lot mellower.
    Thanks. I can force on the knee as hard as I want without any issue, the PT made sure of that. It's the lateral stability that could be a problem in the event of a crash. The power is there for punchy climbs, it's the endurance that might in short supply.
    Boring trails are fine though, it's more about doing something that isn't agonizing about not skiing.
    "Your wife being mad is temporary, but pow turns do not get unmade" - mallwalker the wise

  4. #4
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    Plenty of miles in the JEM area and they're generally all pretty cruisy
    Wire Mesa is near Gooseberry and it's a nice 8-9 mile loop that a bit more difficult that JEM but not quite as tough as Gooseberry.
    Little Creek Mountain is similar to Gooseberry but considerably fewer people.
    Guacamole is really fun. Pretty grunty in spots but not super techy.

    I haven't ridden on the St George Santa Clara side of things much but agreed that Zen, Barrel, and Suicidal Tendencies are probably more techy that what you're looking for. The scout trails around the reservoir are pretty techy as well. Church Rocks/ Prospector might be more in the wheelhouse. Bearclaw Poppy is a fun zone and very mellow.

    There is still plenty of camping on the Mesa. Lots around the JEM area, Gooseberry, and Wire. Less around Guacamole and Little Creek.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tBatt View Post
    The scout trails around the reservoir are pretty techy as well.
    Personally, I thought those trails sucked, a lot. I remember multiple switchbacks where the trail climbed out of one swtichback, then after the next switchback descended back down to the first SB. WTF?

    Wire is solid suggestion. Kick ass views. Makes a nice addition to a Grafton loop.

  6. #6
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    I'll second Barrel, it's fun and you can make it as hard as you want in a few places (or roll around). Wire Mesa is two (maybe three) ticks flowier and less techy than Gooseberry with better views. Little Creek Mesa is one tick flowier and less techy than Gooseberry.

    Edit: tbatt beat me to the Wire Mesa and Little Creek Mesa recco. Church Rocks/Prospector is fun, but always leaves me a little 'meh.' Does have a little deep sand riding depending on recent traffic and weather.

  7. #7
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    Have to chime in, We (Teton valley rats) were first riding Gooseberry in ‘97-98, it was definitely ‘a thing’...but whatevs, have a great time!

    Anyone know if they ever restricted those ‘tiny homes’ and whatnot near the JEM trail?
    Those were borderline illegal as rentals....
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  8. #8
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    Guac Mesa is pretty fun, great views, and lots of different loop lengths which might suit a bum knee well. Thereís also great camping on the Mesa right by the trailhead, also more if you continue on the double track past where people park.

    Little creek is also very cool and secluded and sorta feels like a flowier version of goose. Itís a bit more of a drive, but if you like Mesa style riding youíll probably love it. Thereís some camping out by that trailhead too.

    The camping near goose is definitely busy, but thereís a ton of sites and I bet youíll find something, just keep your eyes open on the little side roads.

    Wire Mesa is new and very very mellow but has epic views and could be combined with some of the grafton stuff, but that might be pushing it for you.

    In the jem area I like jem-China town wash-Hurricane rim. The rim has some nice tech, and when I rode it in 99 degree heat, I thought it would be fun in the winter. Good xc loop overall.

    I canít go to st. George without riding Zen and barrel, but thatís relatively rough uphill and downhill tech. So good.

    Itís worth hitting Richfield on the way up or down, but might be snowy right now and itís tough to find up to date trail conditions. Awesome trails of all difficulties.

  9. #9
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    Timely thread - we're looking at taking a trip down there in early April too, and starting to assemble a list of trails to ride, and also to look for likely dispersed camping areas.

    Our loose plan is to drive to St George, motel for 1 night, then head out in the morning to go locate the camp spot for the next week or so -- hoping to get some ideas for suitable small group camping that isn't on overly rough dirt roads. Two of the group will be towing trailers that aren't particularly offroad worthy (a small Scamp and a Casita).
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  10. #10
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    Scamp or Casita would be OK on *most* of Gooseberry if they don’t get torrential rains.
    Forum Cross Pollinator

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideit View Post
    Have to chime in, We (Teton valley rats) were first riding Gooseberry in ‘97-98, it was definitely ‘a thing’...but whatevs, have a great time!
    I certainly don't claim to have pioneered the areas but it wasn't exactly a major MTBing hub back then. I imagine the traffic was increasing by 5% a year between the time you started riding down there and the time I did. It's increased by 5000% since then. Kinda like touring in the Wasatch, it was always been a thing but in recently it's becoming A LOT MORE of a thing. Exponential growth is a bitch, it creeps up oi you you then BAM, orders of magnitude to the face.

    Thanks for all the recommendations. Going to study the maps and plop myself down on a quiet and not super serious mesa (Little Creek looks good for camping) for a couple of night. Ride that on day 1, maybe go to JEM area on day 2, pack up on day 3 and hit the stuff closer to St George or maybe Guac. I'll report back with tales of crowds as dense as what you'd see on the Flagstaff skinner.
    "Your wife being mad is temporary, but pow turns do not get unmade" - mallwalker the wise

  12. #12
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    You are going to love LC, so fun.
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  13. #13
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    This is very timely. GF and I are headed that way on Friday. We'll stop in Caliente for a day and then go to St George. The plan is to spend 2 weeks there and around. I hate crowds, but am hopeful that by successfully avoiding them for the last 8 months or so I've built up some tolerance and won't be immediately turned off.

    We'll have gravel bikes with us too, and I will be doing some pretty big days on both types. If anyone is up for some long rides in the next couple of weeks let me know. We might not get to SG until Monday, but if you're going to be around then, Boissal, I'm happy to ride mellow XC stuff.

    We're rolling in the Winningbago, and I've crafted a ghetto but probably functional moto carrier for the rear so I can do all of the things while the GF works from "home".

    Sent from my SM-P610 using TGR Forums mobile app
    ride bikes, climb, ski, travel, cook, work to fund former, repeat.

  14. #14
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    Sorry Boissal I'm gonna piggyback this thread. I am heading down for the week but likely wont be there until Sunday night. I normally do GJ, Fruita, Moab but figured it was time for something different. Sounds like a start on the riding beta but what's the good word on camping and mexican food?
    a positive attitude will not solve all of your problems, but it may annoy enough people to make it worth the effort

    Formerly Rludes025

  15. #15
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    Nice thread, headed down there later this month w the fam, hoping to lap jem trails w the kids, as well as explore other areas.


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  16. #16
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    Wow. We are heading that way in a few weeks also - a week there with the wife and kids and then 4 days riding with buddies.

    Sent from my SM-N986U using Tapatalk

  17. #17
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    “It’s too crowded...no one goes there anymore”
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  18. #18
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    So this is the new Spring Shitshow area 'round these parts?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by skaredshtles View Post
    So this is the new Spring Shitshow area 'round these parts?
    There's gonna be a ski-off on Gooseberry.
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Chupacabra View Post
    There's gonna be a ski-off on Gooseberry.
    SW UT summit should be a thing with a morning ski off at Cedar Breaks followed by pro-line riding around the Rampage site. We're all exceptional athletes, it will be fine.
    For those who climb Cedar canyon has some awesome fresh water limestone with really soft grades, a perfect ego boost and a good way to introduce variety into the day.
    "Your wife being mad is temporary, but pow turns do not get unmade" - mallwalker the wise

  21. #21
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    Gander to the gooseberry loop will get you 20 miles. I am in Moab less than 10 vehicles in horsetheif campground. No idea how busy it will be this weekend. More cruising options for the knee.

  22. #22
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    I'd say my top rides down there are, in no particular order:
    Little Creek
    Barrel Roll/Sidewinder
    Zen
    Wire
    Guac
    JEM IMBA Epic

    honorable mention to:
    bearclaw poppy
    Gooseberry

    One thing to consider is leaving earlier and stopping in Richfield and riding the Pahvant trails (up big red/down Cairnage), quick lap to break up the drive, super fun. Camping at Guacamole (should be able to get a small trailer up there if you're a good driver, amazing views of the park.
    "If we can't bring the mountain to the party, let's bring the PARTY to the MOUNTAIN!"

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phall View Post
    One thing to consider is leaving earlier and stopping in Richfield and riding the Pahvant trails (up big red/down Cairnage), quick lap to break up the drive, super fun.
    How are the trails in Richfield? I've driven through there half a dozen times on my way to/from StG and always thought that area looked ripe for mountain biking. It's such a beautiful valley, and it seems like that town could carve a little niche for itself as a mini-destination given the location and everything around it.

  24. #24
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    We got our dog from there in May last year, and stopped to ride on the way down. I would say if you are driving through its worth it, the Pahvant network is awesome, and a great way to break up a drive or for a long day trip from SLC to break up winter doldrums.

    The trails are very fun, nothing mind blowing amazing, but the climb trail is great, flowy, a little tech/rocky to keep you engaged, and the cairnage descent is super fun, flowy, small features, etc. They apparently are working on more trails.
    "If we can't bring the mountain to the party, let's bring the PARTY to the MOUNTAIN!"

  25. #25
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    So nobody eats tacos?
    a positive attitude will not solve all of your problems, but it may annoy enough people to make it worth the effort

    Formerly Rludes025

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